International Students

It is possible for degree-seeking international students to study abroad during your time at UC Santa Cruz. However, International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) strongly recommends against studying abroad during your last quarter before graduating. To go overseas, you will need to work with both a Study Abroad Advisor and ISSS Advisor. Once you have chosen a program, it is essential to meet with your ISSS Advisor regarding how studying abroad could affect your:

  • F-1 or J-1 status
  • Re-entry into the United States
  • Obtaining the proper documents and signatures
Whether studying through a UCSC Faculty-Led Program, UCEAP, UC Quarter or Summer Abroad or through a non-UC program, please be sure to inform an ISSS advisor of the length of time you will be abroad.

Note: Studying on programs outside of UCEAP is possible but requires some extra paperwork, consult with a Study Abroad Advisor for more information and to discuss options. 

Steps to Study Abroad:

  1. Research Programs
  2. Investigate Visas
    • As part of the planning process for study abroad, you should make sure you understand all entry requirements to your intended study abroad destination. This goes the same for countries outside of the program that you wish to visit.
    • Depending on your country of citizenship, you may be required to obtain a visa for the host country. In some cases, international students may be required to return to their home country to apply for the study abroad visa.
    • Research what documents you will need to enter foreign countries as well as what you will need to re-enter the United States.
    • Unfortunately, Study Abroad has limited resources to help and cannot advise on non-U.S. visas, so the majority of the research will have to be on your own.
    • We recommend contacting the nearest embassy or consulate and only looking at direct government websites (.gov). Study Abroad discourages using visa websites or companies that request payment as these can sometimes be scams, but if you insist on using one make sure to research it thoroughly. 
  3. Communicate with ISSS
    • Communicate with your International Student Advisor as soon as you have picked a program.  They can help you discuss how studying abroad will affect your F-1/J-1 visa status and the proper documents and signatures necessary to re-enter the U.S. 
  4. Apply to a Program
    • Start applications early!
    • Studying abroad is possible, but there is some extra paperwork involved to get you abroad and ensure you can return to the U.S. easily.
    • To help guarantee that everything goes smoothly make sure you apply early and check that all documents are up-to-date.

Tips for a Successful Study Abroad Experience:

  • For re-entry to the United States after your Study Abroad experience has ended, make sure that you have a valid passport that will expire no earlier than 6 months into the future, a valid U.S. visa, and your most recent I-20/DS-2019 with a valid travel signature. More information can be found on the ISSS Travel & Reentry webpage.
  • Keep your visa current and plan ahead. You will need a valid U.S. visa to come back to the U.S., so make sure that you have all the necessary updates before departure. If your F-1 or J-1 visa is going to expire while you are abroad, make arrangements to apply for another F-1 or J-1 student visa.
  • Start applications early. You want to make sure you leave plenty of time for your all visas to process. The sooner you apply, the better.
  • Make plans for all countries you will travel to and through. If you want to travel outside of your program, research ahead of time what visas (tourist, transit, etc.) you may need. 
  • Keep in communication with your UCSC ISSS Advisor. Do not be afraid to ask questions.